Off The Bus is a news and opinion site about the 2008 election and the race for the White House. It features an open blogging platform for reporting and commenting on the campaign, and a network of people who both do their own thing and collaborate with others in different projects and investigations. Anyone willing to abide by our rules (we're still writing them) can claim an Off The Bus blog or join our list (already 1,000 strong) to participate in upcoming projects.
Off The Bus was created by NewAssignment.Net and the Huffington Post in the spring of 2007 to break out of patterns in the campaign press that repeat from election to election-- horse race journalism amid the spin cycle, with polls, ads, campaign strategy and "inside" analysis of what the candidates are doing to win. This is the stock-in-trade of professional reporters on the press bus.
But we think there are new demands on politics and journalism and all forms of media today because more people want to participate-- and they know they can. Established institutions are often not ready to respond by creating "open" versions of themselves.
Off The Bus is an all-purpose campaign news bureau, but an open version of one.
It would be more accurate to say semi-open. Portions of the site are unedited and user controlled. The blogging system is basically a free space. We don't tell you what to write. (Well, we do but you don't have to listen.) The front page, section pages and various feeds we send out are filtered, edited products.
We try to practice "pro-am" journalism at OffTheBus, which simply means high standards in truthtelling for the journalism of all participants, pros and amateurs working together in pursuit of editorial goods. Which goods? News, information and commentary that is useful to voters and finds its own following on the Web. (See our Guidelines for OffTheBus Bloggers.)
And by involving hundreds of people in writing and reporting, some of whom claim specialized beats, while thousands more join in our "networked journalism" projects, we're trying to show that a strength-in-numbers approach has distinct advantages in a sprawling and wide-open election.
The site covers the campaigns of all the candidates for president in both parties. It is independent and unaffiliated with either the Democratic or Republican Party. Its perspective is determined by the publishers, Arianna Huffington and Jay Rosen; by the editorial staff they hire, and by individual authors and producers who use our platform. There is no party line.